Image by Nastuh Abootalebi



6 MAY 2021


We look at industrial style in interior design and its unwavering popularity since gaining acclaim towards the end of the 20th century. Artists and creatives saw it as an opportunity to get into the property market by purchasing abandoned warehouses and factories in cities or built up areas. In recent years, many of these spaces have been converted into loft apartments, commercial offices or open plan living spaces. We outline the fundamentals of the industrial aesthetic and how to manufacture that clean cut feeling.


One of the many positives to this style is the use of decrepit materials that would otherwise be discarded and replaced. This goes for the building itself and the pieces inside it. This features steel, weathered wood, exposed brick, unfinished concrete, overhead beams and copper pipes which would otherwise be concealed. Large windows are another common feature of the style which enhances that open plan living feel. Shipping containers are also being used to depict industrial design in architecture for homes and studios in another effective way to utilise objects that would otherwise be deemed as waste.


The raw and unfinished materials will give a hint towards the overall palette of the space. While boasting natural earth tones in the form of either brick, wood, steel or concrete, it is important to keep with a simple, neutral colour palette. The use of greys, browns, blacks and whites can actually contrast and compliment each other very well. This will create a natural flow and depth throughout the space and provide a warmth to the room, even though the warehouse feel would imply otherwise. 


It is important to use the furnishings in a certain way to create a division in between living areas, as the space you have to work with is usually one large room. These buildings offer ample spaciousness, so oversized furniture is often used to make use of the area. Large modern sectionals are routinely used for this purpose as they will add that grand and luxurious feel to the space. Vintage and restored finds are another asset to the style, commonly featuring a lot of steel, wood and leather. The use of one-of-a-kind pieces and unusual utilitarian objects is what creates interest in the room without being overbearing.


Drop-down pendant lighting is predominantly used in industrial style, the reason being abundant overhead space. This will allow you to go big and bold. You can opt for simple individual pendants with exposed bulbs, oversized shades made from steel, or a unique chandelier that dances across the ceiling. Oversized standing lamps are another celebrated feature that will stretch above your large sectional sofa and compliment the space. There are endless examples of light fixtures that are made from curious or unexpected objects. The use of old plumbing pipes, chains, cages or rope will give you the chance to express your own personality even though the style may seem decidedly specific.


It is key to remember that the entire premise of this design aesthetic is to expose elements that aren't usually on display or seem purely functional. The use of steel for kitchen bench tops is used to emulate commercial kitchens, which you can pair with quirky laboratory inspired bar stools. As well as bar carts or kitchen islands that can be moved around the room with wheels. Other interesting design elements include large wall clocks with exposed internal wheels, old leather car seats turned into chairs, hanging mirrors with leather straps and exposed copper or brass piping used in bathrooms - think steampunk gone minimalist.


It's time for the finishing touches! Adding artwork to your home is a chance for you to convey your personality and the ambiance you want for you home. Popular themes for industrial style artwork can include, city scapes, abstract monochromatic pieces or black and white photography prints. You can use comic book or graffiti inspired illustrations to add that pop of colour to the space. There is so much room to be creative and paint the room with your own brush while still keeping with the distinct elements of industrial design.